Kotlářka Praha Baseball Opening Day
Kotlářka Praha vs Eagles Saturday April 2, 2016 at 15:00
Baseball season is finally here, but for expats that means staying up until 3am in the morning just to catch your favorite team’s face-off back home. To the novice baseball fan who wants to watch and learn the American game but think you cannot because there is no baseball in the Czech Republic – wrong. I am here to tell you that, yes, there is baseball in the Czech Republic, and Czechs are good at it.
My name is Kris Richards (@kris_rich14). I am an American expat living in Prague, and I am the manager/head coach of Kotlářka Praha baseball team, ranked #1 in the Czech Republic and the #10 team in Europe. I also act as the Czech national hitting coach for the U23 Czech national team. After suffering an injury in 2014 (Tommy John Surgery) while playing for the Baltimore Orioles organization, I retired from playing baseball and decided to get into international baseball coaching in hopes of developing baseball in the Czech Republic. This is my second baseball season in Prague, and this season my team, Kotlářka, looks to defend their 2015 Czech Extra League Championship title with hopes of also competing for the #1 spot in Europe, when we travel to Rimini, Italy to play in the European Champions Cup.
For many, the idea of baseball or, better yet, competitive baseball in the Czech Republic is a laughable thought but, in fact, Czech baseball is ranked #16 in the world. This is very impressive considering almost a decade ago Czech was ranked 40th. As a nation of 10 million people, only 10,000 actually play the sport. However, the growth of baseball has been very impressive, and it is well known throughout the international baseball community that Czech baseball is a fast growing sport with great potential. While Czech baseball lies in the shadows of traditionally popular Czech sports such as: hockey, soccer, basketball and winter sports, the Czech baseball community has a found a way to grow the sport and push this young nation to a top 20 world ranking.
The growth can be seen within the Kotlářka Baseball team as many of the players have played professional baseball in the U.S.A. and are current members of the Czech National team.
Kotlářka Praha currently has 8 former Minor League (MiLB) players that play/have played with affiliate clubs in the U.S.A. which include the New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Indians, Philadelphia Phillies and the Pittsburgh Pirates. To go along with this impressive resume, Kotlářka has 14 current Czech National team players along with 2 Australian National team players (Mitch Nilsson and Ryan Battaglia). These expats, Mitch (@mnils38) and Ryan (@boofbataglia) both played professional baseball in the Cleveland Indians organization in the U.S.A. and play Australian professional baseball for the Brisbane Bandits in Brisbane, Australia.
Within Kotlaraka’s impressive roster is also one player that many expats and Czech natives may be familiar with, Adam Matuška the owner of the Matuška Brewery. Not only can Adam brew the best beer in the Czech Republic, but he is also one of the best outfielders in the country, having hit an impressive .301 average last season in helping Kotlářka win their first Czech Extra League Championship.
As the season comes to a start, Kotlářka Praha would like to invite you to the season’s first home game this Saturday April 2, 2016 at 15:00 against our Prague rival, the Eagles. Come out and enjoy Kotlářka baseball while eating some Rustic Jerky and drinking Matuška beer. Hope to see you there wearing your red and blue. Go Kotlářka!
Kotlářka Praha Baseball Stadium: Located at Na Markétě 160 00 Praha 6 – Vypich. [Green Line A, Petřiny]. [Buses 179, 184 and 191] Four-minute walk from tram stop - Vypich [Trams: 15, 22, 25 Buses: 108, 174, 180, 191]. Parking is available for those that drive.
Facebook: Kotlářka Praha
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